Sergio Ramos was on hand once again to score a dramatic winner as Real Madrid continued their impressive unbeaten run to 35 games in all competitions.
Madrid took the lead with a brilliant strike from Alvaro Morata, before on-loan Stoke forward and ex-Madrid player Joselu scored a quickfire brace to put Deportivo ahead.
Madrid looked on course for their first loss of the season before substitute Mariano Diaz scored with a looping header, and Sergio Ramos scored a dramatic winner in stoppage time to give his team the victory to send the Bernabeu into absolute ecstasy.
Zidane was bailed out after resting Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of the Club World Cup in Japan, and has now set a new club record having gone 35 games unbeaten in all competitions.
Ramos the saviour once again
Sergio Ramos did it again, as the defender was once again Real Madrid’s hero with a bullet header to seal the win in stoppage time. Late, important goals with headers from set pieces have now become Ramos’ party trick, and the Spaniard simply refuses to accept a loss or draw even when everyone else on the pitch seems to have given up.
Zidane hailed Sergio Ramos after the game, praising his “undying belief”, and this belief is one of the reasons Real Madrid have been so successful this season. Ramos is an all-action player, equally committed and unyielding in both defence and attack. When Madrid are low on confidence, it is Ramos that grabs his team by the shoulder and shakes them out of their stupor. When Madrid need a saviour, it is Ramos who steps up to the plate.
Real Madrid’s captain is already a club legend having spent 11 successful years with the Spanish giants, and he might just be the key reason for another successful year this season.
Madrid’s new record down to belief
Last night’s victory meant that Zidane’s men have surpassed Real’s previous record of 34 games unbeaten, set under Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker all the way back in 1988-89. With 35 games without a loss, this is an impressive record that is definitely down to a little bit of luck, but most certainly down to a belief in this Real Madrid side that they haven’t displayed to this extent for a few years now. Without both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale on the night, many would have expected Real Madrid to falter in that situation in years gone by.
Real Madrid’s team spirit is at it’s strongest ebb right now, and it is hard to see anything getting in the way of their fortitude. Zidane’s men have a real chance of winning both the La Liga and Champions League this season – despite Los Blancos finishing second in their group in the latter competition. Their refusal to lose games is starting to become a trait, more than a random occurrence, and if they keep going this way it is hard to see anyone stopping them.
Madrid have true strength in depth in attack
Madrid’s attacking options are becoming more impressive by the minute. Alvaro Morata scored a brilliant opening goal with a curling effort from 25 yards, and substitute Mariano Diaz was the player who equalised the scores in the second half.
With Isco, James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Alvaro Morata and Mariano Diaz all in and out of the first team, Madrid seem to have an impressive amount of permutations and combinations in attack. At least 4 of those players would be a key part of any squad in elite European teams, and Zidane must be thanking his stars every day for the options he has in attack.
Zidane deserves credit
Zinedine Zidane must be credited for Real Madrid’s unbeaten run. Many doubted the Frenchman’s credentials when he took over as the manager of the senior team, as he had not managed any other teams in the top flight before his promotion from Madrid’s B team. However, Zidane has instilled a winning attitude into his team that has propelled them to Champions League glory, and is looking set to push them to La Liga glory as well.
The Frenchman has one of the highest win percentages of any manager in Real Madrid’s history. He also deserves credit for his tactical flexibility. His introduction of Mariano Diaz reaped rewards immediately, with the 23-year old scoring the equaliser that set his team on the path to victory. It is easy to overlook the manager’s influence in a team filled with superstars, but many have failed where Zidane is succeeding.
Joselu returns to haunt his former team
Joselu was nearly the man of the hour for Deportivo La Coruna last night before Real Madrid spoiled his party. The forward – who is on loan from Stoke City – scored a brilliant equaliser after rifling a shot into the top-left corner of Keylor Navas’ net that left the keeper with absolutely no chance of saving it. Casemiro’s error had gifted Joselu with a goal, and he was on hand to score yet again after some slack defending from Real Madrid.
Joselu was actually a part of Real Madrid’s team in 2011, but only managed to make two appearances for Los Blancos, scoring in both those appearances before he was offloaded to Hoffenheim. The striker nearly came back to haunt Madrid, and although Deportivo lost on the night, he can be pleased with his performance against his former club.